NIAP Oversees Evaluations of Commercial IT Products for Use in National Security Systems
Archived U.S. Government Approved Protection Profile - Protection Profile for Server Virtualization Version 1.1
Server Virtualization in the context of this PP relates to a virtualization system that implements virtualized hardware components on server-class hardware. It creates a virtualized hardware environment for each instance of an operating system (virtual machines or VMs) permitting these environments to execute concurrently while maintaining the appearance of isolation and exclusive control over assigned computing resources. Each VM instance supports applications such as file servers, web servers, and mail servers. Server virtualization may also support client operating systems in a virtual desktop or thin-client environment.
A Virtualization System (VS) is a software product that enables multiple independent computing systems to execute on the same physical hardware platform without interference from one other. For purposes of this document, the VS consist of a Virtual Machine Manager (VMM), Virtual Machine (VM) abstractions, and other components.
A VMM is a collection of software components responsible for enabling VMs to function as expected by the software executing within them. Generally, the VMM consists of a Hypervisor, Service VMs, and other components of the VS, such as virtual devices, binary translation systems, and physical device drivers. It manages concurrent execution of all VMs and virtualizes platform resources as needed.
The Hypervisor is the software executive of the physical platform of a Virtualization System. A hypervisor operates at the highest CPU privilege level and manages access to all of the physical resources of the hardware platform. It exports a well-defined, protected interface for access to the resources it manages. A Hypervisor’s primary function is to mediate access to all CPU and memory resources, but it is also responsible for either the direct management or the delegation of the management of all other hardware devices on the hardware platform. This document does not specify any Hypervisor-specific requirements, though many VMM requirements would naturally apply to a Hypervisor.
A Service VM is a VM whose purpose is to support the Hypervisor in providing the resources or services necessary to support Guest and Helper VMs (defined below). Service VMs may implement some portion of Hypervisor functionality, but also may contain important system functionality that is not necessary for Hypervisor operation. As with any VM, Service VMs necessarily execute without full Hypervisor privileges—only the privileges required to perform its designed functionality. Examples of Service VMs include device driver VMs that manage access to a physical devices, and name-service VMs that help establish communication paths between VMs.
A Guest VM is a VM that contains a virtual environment for the execution of an independent computing system. Virtual environments execute mission workloads and implement customer-specific client or server functionality in Guest VMs, such as a web server or desktop productivity applications. A Helper VM is a VM that performs services on behalf of one or more Guest VMs, but does not qualify as a Service VM—and therefore is not part of the VMM. Helper VMs implement functions or services that are particular to the workloads of Guest VMs. For example, a VM that provides a virus scanning service for a Guest VM would be considered a Helper VM. The line between Helper and Service VMs can easily be blurred. For instance, a VM that implements a cryptographic function—such as an in-line encryption VM—could be identified as either a Service or Helper VM depending on the particular virtualization solution. If the cryptographic functions are necessary only for the privacy of Guest VM data in support of the Guest’s mission applications, it would be proper to classify the encryption VM as a Helper. But if the encryption VM is necessary for the VMM to isolate Guest VMs, it would be proper to classify the encryption VM as a Service VM. For purposes of this document, Helper VMs are subject to all requirements that apply to Guest VMs, unless specifically stated otherwise.
This U.S. Government Approved Protection Profile is not assigned to any Validated Products
Archived Related Technical Decisions